Winter is really hanging on this year. We arrived for group training and discovered that there was a lot of fresh snow. Unfortunately there was ice under the snow in the fields so we kept to the plowed parking area and worked on some handling drills. It was snowing so once again I brought out my old camera.
For this drill several orange bumpers were set out in a “T” pattern. First, the handler sent the dog down the center line to retrieve a bumper from the center pile. Then the handler re-sent the dog down the center line but stopped the dog close to the center pile and sent the dog over to either the pile to the right or the left. It didn’t matter whether the handler sent the dog right or left to start, but for ease of explanation I will say the handler sent the dog to the left pile first. Once the dog retrieved a bumper from the left pile, the handler re-sent the dog down the middle and stopped it at the same point and sent it (with an “over”) to the right pile to retrieve a bumper. This drill was working on “overs” so the handler wanted to stop the dog fairly close to that center pile. The object was to change the dog’s mind from going back to that center pile for a bumper.
The snow always seems to add difficulty to drill work and many of the dogs made mistakes and needed to be stopped and recast here and there. It just goes to show that weather can make even the easiest drills a bit of a challenge.
Storm was up first and she had a bit of trouble with this. She did it, but needed to be re-sent a couple of times and needed some extra casts. That’s OK because in training we don’t expect perfection. We hope to make things challenging.
Thunder was up next. He did a good job on this. He has done a ton of these kinds of drills. He did not take to learning handling easily, (probably because he was older when he learned), so he did a lot of different drills to work on his “overs”. With all of the snow and ice underneath, Thunder moved carefully toward each pile of bumpers. He kind of trotted. This was OK with us. We don’t need him to re-injure his leg because he has been doing really well with no limping even with increased exercise.
Freighter was up last. This was very difficult for him. His handling needs work. The trainer handled him through this drill. All the dogs ran through this drill a few times. After three or so times through, Freighter finally seemed to get it. He was pretty proud of himself the last time through. He needs a lot of repetition with his handling. Spending time with the trainer will help him because he will get the repetition he needs.
Once we finished training, we said good-bye to Freighter who went off with the trainer, tail wagging. We won’t get to see him for a couple of weeks since there is no group training next Saturday.
Tomorrow–a promise of Spring.